1969 - The Band released their self-titled album. The Band's first album, Music from Big Pink, seemed to come out of nowhere, with its ramshackle musical blend and songs of rural tragedy. The Band, the group's second album, was a more deliberate and even more accomplished effort, partially because the players had become a more cohesive unit, and partially because guitarist Robbie Robertson had taken over the songwriting, writing or co-writing all 12 songs. Though a Canadian, Robertson focused on a series of American archetypes from the union worker in "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and the retired sailor in "Rockin' Chair" to, most famously, the Confederate Civil War observer Virgil Cane in "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal, while the lyrics continued to paint portraits of 19th century rural life (especially Southern life, as references to Tennessee and Virginia made clear), its sometimes less savory aspects treated with warmth and humor.
1979 - Joe Walsh announces his bid for the US presidency (he obviously doesn't win). Walsh ran as a write-in candidate, however, and garnered attention with his "Free Gas For Everyone" campaign.
He also promised that if he won, he would make his hit song "Life's Been Good" the new national anthem . With lyrics including "I go to parties sometimes until four, it's hard to leave when you can't find the door," it would have made for an interesting anthem to be sung in American classrooms. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for IMF)
1985 - The first Farm Aid benefit concert was held before a crowd of 80,000 people at the Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. Organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, the event had been spurred on by Bob Dylan's comments at Live Aid earlier in that year that he hoped some of the money would help American farmers. The star-studded line-up of stars included Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, John Fogerty, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, X, The Beach Boys Willie Nelson, and Bonnie Raitt.
1994 - Friends debuts on NBC, accompanied by a catchy theme song by The Rembrandts, "I'll Be there For You", that becomes an unexpected hit.
1998 - The Goo Goo Dolls release their smash album Dizzy Up The Girl. "Name" changed the game for the Goo Goo Dolls. Prior to that unexpected hit ballad, the Buffalo trio was pretty much content to turn out amiably sloppy rock & roll in the style of the Replacements. But once they had a hit, they were happy to jump headfirst into the mainstream, cleaning up their rockers until they shone and embracing acoustic power ballads instead of shunning them. Included "Slide", "Iris", and "Black Balloon".
Nick Cave is 66. Since the late '70s, from the band Birthday Party to his solo career, Australian singer and songwriter Nick Cave has proved to be one of the most enduring talents to emerge from the post-punk era. In addition to being a remarkably consistent recording artist, his songs have been covered by everyone from Josh Groban, PJ Harvey, and Johnny Cash to Arctic Monkeys, Metallica, and Chelsea Wolfe, to name a few. However, his often dramatic, romantic, and/or harrowing tomes sound best on his own recordings. Accompanied by his ubiquitous backing band the Bad Seeds, Cave's style is inimitable as it ranges across a spectrum that includes noisy, clattering, but extremely musical rock -- equal parts mutant rockabilly, garage, indie, post-punk, and cabaret -- as well as striking romantic balladry and broken blues.
Joan Jett is 65. Joan Jett's trademark brand of rock & roll is simple, direct, and very effective. Using a stripped-down combination of glam rock stomp, bubblegum hooks, and punk power driven home by her raspy, heartfelt vocals, she is equally at home cranking out three-chord rockers as she is breaking hearts with tear-streaked ballads. Starting with her first band in the mid-'70s, the heavy metal-meets-punk Runaways, through her hit-making days in the '80s with the Blackhearts.
Johnette Napolitano is 66. Best known for her work as lead singer and bassist in the '80s and early-'90s alternative rock trio Concrete Blonde, Johnette Napolitano is also a poet, social activist, soundtrack composer, and sculptor.
The name Concrete Blonde came R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. It was supposed to connote the band's mix of hard and soft elements,
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Song Facts, Live Science, Allmusic, and Wikipedia.